As college students, we are have very strange relationships with our professors. There are some professors that we love and consider our best friends, and others that we hope we never have to encounter ever again. Nevertheless, we are taught to respect them not only because they possess more knowledge than us, but because they hold our precious grades in our hands.
Our current education system relies solely on the validation that our teachers give us through passing or failing letter grades. This isn’t exactly a perfect system, but it’s what we are working with. To some, getting the right grade in a class could lead them into the rest of their future, such as grad school or medical school. Others could care less what grade they earned because they’re just happy that the class is over with.
Then there’s the rest of us. The students that are just trying to make it through. The students who are earning a mix of letter grades and just can’t wait to graduate. Now for me, I have begun to countdown the days until graduation next year so I can get a good job and be my own person, but all of that has to wait.
My life has to wait because I have to take a class that is required by California State University, Monterey Bay (CSUMB) that I believe is a genuine waste of my time. I know that there are reasons that the school has requirements so that everyone can have the same type of education and what not, but in all honesty some classes shouldn’t be required for certain people.
I have been required to take a language class for a language that I am already fluent in. So you can imagine how I might not be 100% involved when I’m sitting in class. However, I have to take the class to graduate, and it is extremely annoying. It is annoying for a few reasons:
Because knowing a language—and then sitting in a class for that language—makes you feel like you got sent back to Kindergarten. Because if I didn’t have to take this one class I could graduate a semester earlier.
The teacher is aware that I know the language, and grades me harder/asks more of me than she does of the other students.
So here I am. Half-way through the spring semester and hating every second of this language class. Then, I committed the gravest mistake that any student could make. Here it comes—I asked for more time to do my homework! Dun. Dun. Duuun. *Cue up the dramatic music*
The teacher of my language class had only been giving us a short amount of time to do our homework online. They were opening up the homework late Tuesday nights and giving us until Thursday morning to finish it. Now, this may seem like enough time, but the professor had just announced that they were adding more assignments to be done before class everyday. I also have a very busy Wednesday.
In this moment I had thought that it was reasonable to ask for a day or so more for the homework. That perhaps it could be posted during the weekends, or maybe on Fridays when Tuesday’s homework was assigned, but I quickly found that my professor did not think this was a reasonable request.
(This is the part where we remember that all I need is a passing grade in this class to graduate and I already think this class is a waste of time to begin with.)
My professor went off on me. Without hesitation, I was being ripped a new one in front of my entire class. Not only was I lectured on time management and how other people have busier lives than I do (when I gave no background of my schedule, I only asked one question), but I was also told that if anyone in the class could finish the homework quickly, it should be me.
It was around this point in class when I began to tear up because the professor hurt my feelings, and also because I reflected upon how the class isn’t really that important to me. But wait, there’s more! The professor continued to call me out and told me that asking for extra time was a ridiculous request.
The professor then had other students tell me how I could get assignments done quicker and then posted everyone’s homework on the screen for everyone to see and pointed out that I had turned in my assignments late. I was devastated. I had no idea what to do. I was hurt and wanted to drop the class and never have to return.
But I couldn’t. And I can’t. If you are a CSUMB student and you are reading this then you probably know how difficult it is to get the right classes or maintain the right schedule. So here I am, half-way through Spring semester stuck in a language class and hating every second of it.
I wish I could write that everything was magically better and that someone came in and fixed everything, but that’s not what happened. I had students around me that knew my professor was wrong and mean, but they told me they were there to support me. I talked to other professors and they also showed their support for me.
Sometimes, there isn’t much you can do when you are stuck in a bad situation. Sometimes, you end up just having to deal with it, but I am not going to let one professor stand in the way of my future.